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REAL beauty "selfie"

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There's a wonderful new trend on the internet, women using their blogs to campaign for real beauty. Tired of media portrayals of false femininity, these women are taking a stand and showing what REAL women look like. Among them, our local Girls on the Run chapter. The Girls on the Run Alachua County (GOTRAC) program inspires young girls to reach their full potential, via a curriculum-based after school running program. Encouraging them to see their true beauty, their inner self, is at the core of this intention. Thus the board is joining this larger real beauty movement by blogging about their authentic selves, in all their insecurities, as a role model for girls in the program.

The first blog post in the GOTRAC series stresses the importance of believing you are beautiful. I wrote the post, named "Campaign For Real Beauty: BE the Change." In it I stress the importance of daughters seeing us believing in our own beauty:

"It’s one thing to TELL your girls to focus on their inner beauty, but it’s a whole other thing to lead by example. Our girls learn from us, and not just the things that we TELL them but what they witness us doing. Our behavior sets the standard for how they will behave. Thus how we treat ourselves, our inner dialogue, can become how they treat themselves, their inner dialogue. If you wrinkle your nose at your “chubby thighs” or always insist on applying makeup before going anywhere, or try diet after diet to “drop that last five pounds”, your daughter is watching you and learning to criticize everything about her body. So, we must convince ourselves of our own message — that we are beautiful as we are–and stop trying to attain that prefab notion of “perfection” we were brainwashed into thinking should be our goal."

I was specifically inspired by pro-athlete Lauren Fleshman, runner, skier, Olympic hopeful, and mother, who posted pictures of her cellulite and post-baby belly on her blog. In her piece titled "Keeping It Real," she encourages other moms to take similar pictures, to get the TRUTH out there (that everyone has cellulite/”cottage cheese” and “flabby days.” It’s just a part of life.) NO one is perfectly toned, tanned, and runway ready all the time, not even athletes and models (despite what the media will try to sell us.) Changing this ridiculous notion starts with us, and I am glad so many women agree, including my fellow board members at Girls on the Run. (Their posts will be featured on the blog in the weeks to come.)

It is truly inspiring to see so many women being the change. This new trend is long overdue and SO important, particularly for our daughters. They deserve to have images of real women to look up to (rather than the pouting, anorexic, overly sexualized images online, in magazines, TV ads, music videos, and the like.) I have been inspired, both to write about and to join the campaign. See my average, real beauty day here, in my GOTRAC blog post. In turn, I challenge you to do the same. Take an authentic, average day "selfie." Show your kids that it’s okay to not be perfect, that we are all beautiful despite our self-doubting inner voice. Believe me, I understand that it’s intimidating. But it is SO worthwhile. Together we can give our children better role models, and thus help them love their bodies just as they are.

A Few Real beauty campaigns:

A Beautiful Body Project

Revolution from Home: "Dear Beauty Industry, I"m not buying it."

Truth In Advertising Project by Brave Girls Alliance/ Brave Girls Want

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